THE Wagga Blaze have produced the ideal preparation for their top-of-the-pool clash with Queanbeyan with victories over Tamworth and Dubbo in their double header at Minto on Saturday.
With all Waratah League teams converging for a 'central' round, the Blaze moved to 4-1 in their Waratah Basketball League women's division one title defence by beating the Thunderbolts 72-64, and the Rams 91-84.
Khiani Clark (19 points), Shakera Barnes (15) and Hannah Ryan (14) did most of the damage for the Blaze against Tamworth, while six players scored double figures in the victory over Dubbo.
Youngster Abbey Morton scored six points in the last two minutes against Dubbo after they closed to within three points midway through the final term after falling behind by 14 at quarter time.
"Tamworth are a very talented team this year, they knocked down over 90 points against Dubbo last week so we knew they could score, but we managed to get on top of them," Blaze coach Peter O'Leary said.
"Against Dubbo, while we got the result I don't think we played as well. We had the wood on them in the first quarter but we let them get back into the game.
"It became a really tough grind towards the end but the girls toughed it out.
" They stuck to it and I thought Caren Hugo had a pretty good game, and Abbey Morton came home with a wet sail and that was the deciding factor."
The Blaze next host unbeaten Queanbeyan (5-0) on May 11 in a clash vital to both side's hopes of clinching top spot in Pool A.
"We lost to them in overtime (early in the season), but we were undermanned in that game," O'Leary said.
"But they're playing particularly well at the moment, they're the only team we've lost to so far and we want a win to put ourselves on top of the pool."
"It (top spot) will come down to them and us I'd say, providing we can win the rest of our games."
WAGGA BLAZE 72 (K Clark 19, S Barnes 15, H Ryan 14) def TAMWORTH 64 (S McCubbin 22); WAGGA BLAZE 91 (S Barnes 16, A Morton 14, K Clark 13, S Male 13) def DUBBO 84 (F Amen-Ra 30, D Wilson 19)